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BC universities predict dire shortage of skilled workers within three years

Six universities across British Columbia warn that the province is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers -- and there's barely 36 months to resolve the problem.

According to the Research Universities' Council of BC, the number of jobs requiring university, college or trades credentials will exceed the supply of B.C. graduates by 2013, and the deficit will expand for most of the next decade.

A report from the council estimates nearly 19,000 jobs could go unfilled by 2020 because of a lack of necessary training, with the majority of those vacant jobs requiring a university or college degree.

The council, which includes members from UBC, SFU, the University of Victoria, University of Northern BC, Thompson Rivers University and Royal Roads, bases its estimates on the provincial government’s BC Labour Market Outlook.

Council members offer three proposals to fill the skills gap, including creation of 11,000 university, college and trades training spaces over the next four years, along with more grants, scholarships and other improvements to student aid.

They also want to launch Innovate BC, an initiative to unite efforts by government, business, and post-secondary institutions to build research and innovation potential across the province, driving economic growth.

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